Improving the parenting skills of mothers who have spent time in detention

Children of mothers who have spent time in detention are more likely to have behavioural problems than other children.  They have also been through more stressful experiences.  Research by Ankie Menting shows that if you compare the parenting skills of mothers who have spent time in detention with those from ‘Vogelaar’ districts (amongst the poorest in the Netherlands), the former were worse than the latter.  There also appears to be a relationship between these poorer parenting skills and the behavioural problems of their children.

The mothers learn how bring up their children better, as a result of which their children have fewer behavioural problems.

Interventions used in practice

Extensive research has been carried out into the treatment methods used by Utrecht University. They were found to be effective, which means the interventions we have developed can now be used in the following contexts:

  • 20 mental health and addiction care institutes and orthopedagogic treatment centres
  • the families of all ex-detainee mothers in the Netherlands
  • more than 200 schools

Better Start

An example: a study was carried out into the effectiveness of the Incredible Years parental training with added home visits (‘Better Start’) on mothers who have spent time in detention. This was studied during their final period of detention, and participants had a concrete prospect of taking up their role again after their release as parent to a child aged between two and ten years. An analysis of fifty international effects studies showed the effectiveness of the Incredible Years parental training in terms of improving the behaviour of children from a wide variety of family backgrounds.

The Incredible Years Overview
Staff
Assistant Professor